Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Uno's/Climax December 6 Beer Dinner

Chris Percello, Uno's Brewer, has announced the menu and accompanying beers for his December 6 extravaganza, and it looks to be a winner. Sponsored in conjunction with Climax Brewing and Dave Hoffman[L.] (where Chris made his bones), the time is set for 7 PM.
Contact Uno's at 732-548-7979 for reservations.

The food, by the way, will make history, and when you show up, I'll tell you why.

  • 1st Course - Assorted Cheese and Crackers served with Climax ESB

  • 2nd Course - Cranberry Spinach Salad served with Climax Helles Lager

  • 3rd Course - Pumpkin Shrimp Bisque served with Ike's IPA

  • 4th Course - Cheesesteak Egg Roll served with Dark Lager

  • 5th Course - Stuffed Pork Loin with Cherry Red Wine sauce served with Climax Nut Brown Ale

  • 6th Course - Scotch Ale Ice Cream served with Scotch Ale

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Win a beer on The PubScout

Around this festive time of the beer, it seems that every beer writer/blogger and his brother comes out with a list of their 12 Beers of Christmas. If you don't believe me, google the term.

Not to throw a wet blanket on the burning peat moss, but The PubScout has a better idea (though it, too, may be far from new). Let's have the followers of the PubScout's blog do the picking.

That's right. Beer is not an elite beverage, reserved only for the gods and beerscribes. It's the drink of the average joe, and nobody knows what the average joe likes better than Joe himself.
So, Joe, try some winter beers between now and December 13, and send your selections to me at Include a brief statement (50 words) as to why this beer will be one of your Christmas favorites. Of course, using the four senses in your descriptions will help us all to decide if we're buying or trying your choice. And one general guideline is that your choice SHOULD be, as near as possible, a beer that qualifies as a "Winter" beer. That includes tripels and quadrupels as well as stouts, spiced beers, blends, lambics, barleywines and others. Experiment, explore and explain!

If your choice makes the bloglist, to be published starting December 14, you've got a beer coming on The PubScout. We'll arrange to meet, either en masse or singly, and quaff and toast the Advent, the Holiday Season and the coming New Year.

(Since the Mayans say this is the last one we'll celebrate, we might as well do it up.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Beer Nuts for Christmastime

The PubScout is always happy to promote the making--and enjoyment--of good, fresh beer. Check out the link below. Cheers!


Central Jersey duo launch homebrewing supply startup | |

Sunday, November 27, 2011


(H/T to Dave B. for sending this along...)

If you're like The PubScout, all that tax talk about who and what's exempt, what you can and cannot claim, and most importantly why you're paying more and more each year
becomes, well, taxing. And depressing, which is why beer helps.

Like me, all you know is you've got to pay or you go away. And, like college costs, it's always way too high, especially when there are those who pay little or nothing. But the numbers confuse this beer drinker, and the media doesn't help. Neither does the government. But you knew that.
Then, from an economist, along comes a simple explanation every beer drinker can "get his or her mind around."

The Tax System Explained in Beer:

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100... If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this...

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.The fifth would pay $1.The sixth would pay $3.The seventh would pay $7.The eighth would pay $12.The ninth would pay $18.The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59. So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20". Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer, since they were only paying $1 and $3.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,"but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar too. It's unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!"

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "We didn't get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works.

The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.Professor of Economics

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanking God for good brewers

Thanksgiving at The PubScout's house is, by law, a happy, family time. The Missus outdoes herself in the kitchen, and the lads are as loud with raucous laughter and kibitzing as they were when they were tykes. It's a certain music that brings pleasure to a parent's ear (however overgrown with pinna it becomes as we age, which nobody warned us about).

The difference now is that two of the lads (who have been accompanying their father to brewpubs and breweries for many years) can legally consume, and hopefuly enjoy, the fruits of Ninkasi, the Egyptian beer goddess; and we had some outstanding examples yesterday.

We drained an entire five-litre keg of Hofbrau's Munchen Oktoberfest I had been saving for the occasion, and despite its much lighter color from that of previous years, it was delicious, on-style and Kazzy's favorite. Brett's a hophead, and he thoroughly enjoyed Hop-Shock IPA from SanTan brewing in AZ (H/T to buddy Ty for sending it) and Dave Hoffman's Climax IPA. The PubScout enjoyed a Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale or three with Tom Turkey, and after dinner and cigars, but before dessert, I uncorked A Sam Adams American Kriek. That cork, BTW, is VERY tough to get out of the bottle, but very worth it when you do.

But the real treat of the night--with dessert--was Sam Adam's beautiful blonde barleywine called Griffin's Bow and pictured above, right. Bear in mind that barleywines are a different kind of brew and certainly not to everyone's liking. Even on the various beer rating sites, this beer gets both praised and panned. But not from The PubScout, who loved it. Poured in a snifter glass, this may be one of the prettiest beers you'll ever see, and its nose will have you sniffing far longer than customary. Fruit notes, vanilla notes oak notes all come together to make a most memorable impression--until you actually taste it. That's when the smoothness and complexity of this oak aged barleywine really shines, and for this beer drinker, guaranteed a return trip to Dan Ratti's to get more. This is simply an outstanding Fall/Winter beer, and I'd be anxious to hear reports from other lovers of the barleywine style as to how you rated it. Don't forget to use olfaction and retro-olfaction in the process, because that's when the multiple flavors explode.

In all, a most fitting ending to a wonderful day, made even better by knowing I have another Griffin's Bow in my quiver, and while everyone else is out fighting Black Friday, I'll be nurturing a blonde...

...Barleywine, of course, just in case the missus is reading this.

That's one blonde she won't mind putting under the tree.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gunn Control?

My son Kaz, (recently of legal age) led me to this beer site called Innis and Gunn in Scotland. Check out their beers, starting with "Original." Their tasting and food pairing notes are well done, but the Spider Graph (a variant of our own Beer Wheel) is very cool. In fact, I think I like it better than the Beer Wheel. As to how good the beer is, I cannot say as I've never had it. But it sure looks interesting.

Unless my lads surprise me for Christmas, it looks like I'll have to "slog" through Scottish offerings like Scotch Ales and Wee Heavies.

"Barman! bring me an Old Chub!"

"Not the woman, you fool! The beer!"

Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 18, 2011

"Black Friday?" Heck, yeah!

Stop by The PubScout's FB page and see why Black Friday should be a day of through fifteen superb choices and make your plans now. Let somebody else Occupy Walmart.

Cheers! The PubScout

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beer Can Save Your Life?

Until I viewed this (H/T to Gene Hoyas), I was unaware that beer actually saves lives...

...but I confess that having that guy at my elbow in a pub would discomfit me some.

Cheers! The PubScout

Monday, November 14, 2011

The First-ever PBT

By Kurt Epps—The PubScout

It should come as no surprise that beer writers get asked to review beers, and, through various contacts from NJ to AZ, I had accumulated quite a store. While I could evaluate a single beer from every source, and maybe have two or more if it was particularly outstanding, I realized that I would have quite a few “soldiers” standing at the ready, but no war to send them to.

So, with my motto of “good beer, good people” in mind, I concocted the idea of the very first PubScout’s Beer Tasting. Why not invite some of my faithful followers over to help me assess these beers?

My schedule dictated that it had to be a Sunday, and my whim dictated that it be all male, what with football on and all. So I went through my contacts list and invited an eclectic mix of manly men who had shown an interest in beer, especially in following my blog. Space limitations in my home dictated that the assembly consist of about 10-12 alpha males, one of them to be my middle son attending college who just turned 21. It’s reasonable to assume that, given his lineage, he had been exposed to beer long before this, but you know the deal—once you’re legal, it’s cool to be able to do things like this without the annoying fear (or exciting thrill) that you’re doing something wrong.

I invited a couple of wrestling coaches, friends, neighbors and motorcycle friends. To preserve their anonymity, the attendees are listed by initials: MG, JG, KM, MOK, DC, DR, HM, RD, KE, JF, LD, and RA. In all, these hardy souls sampled and evaluated twenty-four beers each in four hours. They were not certified beer judges, so the evaluation system was relatively basic—as it should be whenever average joes like us assess a beer. I provided them with prior homework on beer evaluation—to be completed before they came to “class,” and on a scale of one to five, they had to score beers on Appearance, Nose, Mouthfeel and Taste, using indicators like “olfaction” and “retro-olfaction,” on which they had been previously briefed.

My faithful soul-mate, Donna, did yeoman’s work in helping me prep for this, especially in providing the food, and her role as “Scullery Wench” deserves special commendation, as we had to rinse and clean glasses after every beer. We had a few mishaps, but in all we functioned like a well-oiled machine in the Scullery. A film crew from Montclair State University was on hand to capture the event. I’ll advise through this blog where to access the film when it becomes available.

The beers, in order, were as follows:
· Saisons—Hennepin and The Bruery’s Saison D’Lente
· Hefeweizens—Flying Dog, Troeg’s and SanTan (AZ)
· Golden Ale—Epic Brainless, Flying Dog Tire Bite
· Pilsner—Beach Haus (Pt. Pleasant, NJ) and Pilsner Urquell
· Pale Ale—Dale’s, Devil’s Ale (SanTan)
· Amber—Great Divide’s Avalanche, SanTan’s Epicenter and Flying Dog’s Amber Lager
· Black Lager—Kostritzer, Winter Rental
· IPA—Harpoon, Flying Dog, Climax
· Porter—Zywiec, Flying Dog Imperial Porter
· Stout—Yeti (Great Divide), Belgo Anise (Stone) and Ten-Fidy (Oskar Blues)

Keep in mind that not every beer had to be the taster’s favorite, but they had to evaluate it according to style. It was not take a swig, swallow and say “It’s good or it’s crap.”
Whether they choose to drink that style privately is their call. Using the categories to establish an average “Overall” assessment, the results, acquired through review of their completed judging sheets and a show of hands, revealed some very interesting info. The highest scores had to have at least six hands that rated the beer “4” or higher. One beer was actually unanimous at a near-5 rating from everyone.

The three top choices were two offerings from the East Coast Beer Co., makers of Beach Haus and Winter Rental, and the unanimous choice as top beer of the tasting was Zywiec Porter, a beer that sells at Dan Ratti’s Oak Tree Discount Liquor store in South Plainfield for just $2 for a 16-oz. bottle.

In all, it was an excellent afternoon, full of loud—at times raucous—testosterone-filled laughter as the invitees got to know each other better. Twenty-four beers had something to do with that, I’m sure. But all expressed their sincere thanks and indicated that they had learned much about beer appreciation during the four hour session. Some were kind enough to arrive bearing gifts, and for that courtesy, I thank them.

When the official session was over, we retired to the front porch for some fine conversation, more beer and a few Alvarez cigars, as The Scullery Wench has strict orders about cigars in the house.

This was an All-Peno-American event by my choice. There will be one that includes Breasted-Americans somewhere down the road, so don’t fret, ladies.

But please don’t whine.
As everyone knows, Whine doesn’t get invited to a beer tasting.

If you'd like to be invited to the next one, send me an email at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

American Kriek

If you're a lambic fan, this is one you absolutely have to try. It's Sam Adams American Kriek, made with these special cherries called Balaton cherries. Native to Hungary (and apparently, the Hungarians know as much about cherries as they do about cuss words), this stock was transplanted to Michigan, and the result is exceptional. I believe the Spartans at Michigan State had something to do with their horticultural history, giving me another reason to like the result.

Not overly sweet or tart, there is just enough hint of deep, rich cherry flavor to make this a most appealing beer. Far better than SA's Cherry Wheat, in my humble opinion (though that beer has a valued place in summer after a lawn-mowing exercise), this is a beer that should be on everyone's Thanksgiving table. It should complement everything you put out. I had mine with a turkey and swiss sandwich, but it worked wonderfully, turning a mundane meal into something very special.

So it will appear on my Thanksgiving table...but only at my end.

Cheers! The PubScout

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Standing "O" for the Wrong Joe

So this beerwriter walks into a bar--actually a fine restaurant with craft-brewed beer--and gets a standing ovation from at least six comely lasses--and the OWNER! What you may think was a barley-and-hops induced dream was reality, but in the opinion of The PubScout, entirely backwards.

The event was designed to promote Artisan's for a TV shoot that was being done on the premises to promote what is already one of the most unique restaurants in the southern part of the state. It already holds a number of restaurant/brewpub distinctions, as well as that of hosting the best annual Octoberfest Celebration in Jersey. The recipe for that now-legendary party carries over into its daily business model. Great food, great beer and exceptional hospitality will work every time, even without an oompah band and fetching women in dirndls.

The TV crew interviewed Yours Truly, still basking in the glow from that breathtaking welcome at the door--and the crux of my message was just that. The Petes, brothers who own Artisan's (don't ask--it was ouzo and their mother), have put their hearts and souls into this place and it shows. Executive Chef Steve Farley wields a master's hand in the kitchen, and Der Brewmeister Himself, Dave Hoffman does the same at the kettles.

Last evening for example, Dave greeted me with a goblet of his newest beer, just filtered and unavailable to the public--yet--which will be his Winter Ale. OMG. Malty, raisiny, plummy and chock full of blackstrap molasses, this baby will warm your cockles--even if you don't know where they are. Reminiscent of Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome--the one with the Shakespeare quote on the bottle--it's destined to please many a palate, and at 8.5% it deserves respect in terms of where and when you quaff it.

The missus had a dish called Butternut Squash Agnolotti and her repeated vocalizations of pleasure nearly interrupted my enjoyment of Homemade Gnocchi with Filet Mignon. I had already whetted my appetite with some delightful Lamb-Stuffed Meatballs, but the main dish was just outtasight. (Do our youth even know what outtasight means?).

Outtasight is the word that applies to watching "Panagiati" and his "daughter" do moves on the dance floor that made me think John Travolta and his dance partner from Saturday Night Fever were in the house. And it also applies to a sinfully delicious baklava that Panagiati demanded I sample. Not a dish for calorie-counters, for sure, but definitely one for those who appreciate art from the kitchen.

And Art is what Artisan's is all about. In their food, in their beer and in their hospitalty, you just won't find any better. The great shame is that folks north of the Raritan River have to drive a bit to get to it. But if you're anywhere south of the Raritan River, Artisan's awaits you with open arms, big smiles and an exceptional experience.

Don't expect a standing "O" at the door when you enter, but you may be tempted to give one when you leave.

Cheers! The PubScout

Friday, November 4, 2011

So you want to learn how to brew beer?

Check out my friends down in Freehold tomorrow! They have a FB page (from whence I copied this info), and I'm sure you'll enjoy yourself; but more importantly, they are some of the nicest folks you'll meet in the beer business! The Brewer's Apprentice comes with The PubScout's highest recommendation!

On Saturday, November 5th, The Brewers Apprentice will be conducting an all grain seminar in celebration of Teach A Friend To Brew Day!From 4pm until 7pm we'll being going through the basics of all-grain brewing... Including the equipment needed, ingredients, as well as the basic principles. We'll take the mystery out of the process by showing you every single step from building your own equipment (or what to buy), how to set up, how to prepare your grains, how to mash and sparge, etc. This will be an interactive seminar where attendees can ask questions and interact up-close with the equipment and ingredients.At designated points during the event, attendees will also be able to sample some great beer from The Brewers Apprentice! Because of the huge demand for our last all-grain event (we quickly sold out), we are going to offer 50 spots for this event. Please note that this will be the last all-grain seminar that we hold for 2011. Tickets MUST be purchased in advance... we will not honor walk-ins. Tickets are $25 each. To purchase your ticket, call us at 732-863-9411 or drop by the store. We hope to see you there!